بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم
Did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Claim to be a Prophet?
In the first, second and third parts of this series we examined several quotes of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian from his book Haqiqat-ul-Wahi in which he explicitly denied prophethood for himself and affirmed the fundamental Islamic belief that sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ is the last and final Prophet, after whom there is no other prophet. I mentioned that this book was published in May 1907, nearly a year before Ghulam Ahmad’s death, drawing the reader’s attention to the fact that Ghulam Ahmad denied prophethood for himself in the very last part of his life. This is in answer to the doubt that Ghulam Ahmad claimed prophethood gradually and the quotes from his earlier books in which he denied prophethood for himself were abrogated by the supposed quotes found in his latter writings. In this entry, I shall examine the statements of Ghulam Ahmad in his book Chashmah-i-Ma’arifat published on May 15, 1908, the last of his books to be published in his own lifetime, in fact, just days before his death, which occurred on May 26, 1908. So in this book published merely eleven days before Ghulam Ahmad breathed his last, he clearly reaffirms his belief that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the Seal of the Prophets and that he [Ghulam Ahmad] has not made a claim to prophecy in a literal or independent sense. For example, he writes:
ہم بارہا لکھ چکے ہیں کہ حقیقی اور واقعی طور پر تو یہ امر ہے کہے ہمارے سیّد و مولی آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم خاتم الانبیاء ہیں اور آنجانب کے بعد مستقل طور پر کوئی نبوت نہیں اور نہ کوئی شریعت ہے اور اگر کوئی ایسا دعوی کرے تو بلاشبہ وہ بے دین اور مردود ہے۔
Translation: “We have repeatedly averred that, as a matter of fact and truly, our master and leader, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is the Khatam al-Anbiya [Seal of the Prophets] and there is neither an independent prophethood nor a Shari’ah after him. And if anyone lays such a claim he is undoubtedly devoid of faith and is perfidious.” (Ruhani Khaza’in v.23 p.340; Chashmah-i-Ma’arifat p.324 footnote)
The meaning of ‘independent’ prophethood is in reference to a man who is a prophet in his own right, independent of any other prophet. It is this kind of prophethood, which is in fact identical to real and literal prophethood, which has ceased absolutely after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Here Ghulam Ahmad is stating that wherever he has been named as a Prophet or Apostle in his divine inspirations by God, it is not in reference to his self but in reference to him having attained the facets of the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ which is truly the final Prophethood until Judgment Day. Regarding the issue of terminology, since Ghulam Ahmad readily admits that he has been termed as a ‘Prophet’ and ‘Apostle’ in his divine inspirations, he writes on the next page:
نبوت اور رسالت کا لفظ خدا تعالی نے اپنی وحی میں میری نسبت صدہا مرتبہ استعمال کیا ہے مگر اس لفظ سے صرف وہ مکالمات مخاطبات الہیہ مراد ہیں جو بکثرت ہیں اور غیب پر مشتمل ہیں اس سے بڑھ کر کچھ نہیں۔ ہر ایک شخص اپنی گفتگو میں ایک اصطلاح اختیار کر سکتا ہے لِكُلِّ اَنْ يَّصْطَلِحَ سو خدا کی یہ اصطلاح ہے جو کثرت مکالمات ومخاطبات کا نام اس نےنبوت رکھا ہے یعنی ایسے مکالمات جن میں اکثر غیب کی خبریں دی گئی ہیں اور لعنت ہے اس شخص پر جو آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے فیض سے علیحدہ ہوکر نبوت کا دعوی کرے مگر یہ نبوت آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی نبوت ہے نہ کوئی نئی نبوت
Translation: “The words nubuwwah (prophethood) and risalah (messengership) have been used by God in my favour hundreds of times in His revelation but these mean nothing but abundance of divine communion and communication which comprise disclosure of Unseen matters. It does not mean anything beyond this. Every one is free to adopt a terminology of his choice in his speech (li kulli an yas-taliha) and God has in His terminology called abundance of communion and communication as prophethood, that is, such communications which frequently foretell news of the Unseen. Let curse be upon the person who claims prophethood after eschewing the blessing of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)! This prophethood is, in fact, that of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and is not new at all.” (Ruhani Khaza’in v.23 p.341; Chashmah-i-Ma’arifat p.325)
In other words, Ghulam Ahmad has clarified in this the last of his books to be published in his lifetime, published within days of his death, that by the term ‘prophethood’ used in reference to himself is only meant the frequency of divine communication and nothing beyond that. What lies beyond that would of course be prophethood in a real and literal sense, the claim of which is tantamount to apostasy and disbelief in Islam. To be continued, in sha Allah.